The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans on December 29, 2020. The guidelines are released once every five years and form the basis for all federal food and nutrition policies, programs and communications for the coming five years.
While the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) welcomed the updated guidelines which include many evidence-based information, the AICR also points out that critical evidence on alcohol and cancer has been omitted.
According to AICR the USDA and HHS have bowed to alcohol industry pressure and omitted from inclusion the evidence-based recommendation of limiting alcohol use to no more that one alcoholic beverage per day for men, which was recommended from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Scientific Report. Instead the new guidelines have retained the old data that men may consume up to two alcoholic beverages per day.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans should be a blueprint for a healthy diet,” said Dr. Nigel Brockton, AICR’s Vice President of Research, as per Cancer Health.
Retaining this flawed advice implies that two [alcohol beverages] per day are safe for men; that advice is contrary to the convincing evidence that intake of even less than one [alcoholic beverage] per day elevates the risk for several cancer types, including head and neck, esophageal and breast cancers.”Dr. Nigel Brockton, Vice President of Research, American Institute for Cancer Research
The USDA and HHS have thus ignored the recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Scientific Report.
As per AICR advise with regard to cancer prevention it is best not to consume any alcohol.
According to the WHO Global Alcohol Status Report published in 2018 alcohol causes 30,859 cancer deaths in the United States, annually.
As Movendi International reported, a study published in the Chemico-Biological Interactions journal found that, in 2016, alcohol consumption caused an estimated 376,200 cancer deaths, representing 4.2% of all cancer deaths, and 10.3 million cancer disability-adjusted life years lost, representing 4.2% of all cancer disability-adjusted life years lost. Movendi International’s science digest provides further information on the alcohol and cancer link.
Not including the updated evidence on alcohol and cancer is a missed opportunity for the United States government to save preventable deaths, every year due to alcohol linked cancer.